Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Homeschooling Post about "Late" Reading

Meet B.

He is smart, funny, interested in all realms of science, mathematics and history.  He loves a good story, movies, videogames.  He loves to dive into the worlds of Pokemon and Harry Potter and can spend days in full Star Wars character without coming out even for a meal.  He has mastered a 2 wheeler, rollerblades and a scooter and has dreams of owning a skateboard.  His vocabulary is perfection and he never forgets the meaning of a word once he has heard it, flawlessly tucking it into daily use.  He is engaged and engaging, intellectual and bright.

He also has little interest in reading.

He knows his letter sounds, his blends, everything.  He knows his sight words.

He just doesn't want to read.

I've been pulling my hair out about this for two years and finally have realized it is time for me to stop.  Stop seeing it as a personal failure, both of him and me.  Stop succumbing to the fears in my head.  Stop stressing both of us out by requiring mindnumbing slogs through phonics textbooks and boring "the cat sat on the mat" easy readers.

Its time to put down the Alphaphonics and back slowly away.

Its time to stop worrying about his 3 year old sister reading circles around him.

You know you are done when you start googling "Help for Late Readers."

But he's not a late reader.  He can read.  He just doesn't want to.

He has long had the comprehension for intricate story lines and has little patience for the simplistic easy readers that are available for his reading level.  Yet the stories he longs to read discourage him by being too advanced.  He wants me to read them.  To him.

I don't think this would be a different situation if he were in school.  Perhaps if he hadn't learned his phonics rules and sight words and seemed to have a problem with comprehension, but that hasn't been the case. His daddy was a "late" reader, after all, and went on to shine in his college English courses.  I think it is just one of those things that is going to happen when it happens.

Until then, I'll be reading aloud Calvin and Hobbes, Treasure Island, Harry Potter and Swiss Family Robinson.  I'll make myself hoarse on "Farmer Boy" and read every word in the encyclopedia ("but especially the parts about anatomy, because that's what interests me, mama").

I'll trust in the environment he is raised in, his natural intellect and his passion for life.  It will happen when it is time.


  1. Lydia, you are right to back off and keep reading him the stories he loves. I also have a son who is a late reader. He knew all his letters and sounds when he was three and completed Alphaphonics by five years of age. Like your son, he could read, but not the books he wanted to be reading like Pilgrim Progress, Redwall, and The Hardy Boys. Both his sisters were reading their fist chapter books at age 4. Being a former first grade teacher, I was concerned a little, but remembered reading out of Teaching the Trivium,that it is normal for children to learn to read between the ages of 3 and 10. My 11 year old daughter helped by reading to him every night two chapters out of his favorite books. For three and half years we continued reading aloud. He reads, The Christian Nature Readers aloud to me, he loves science and this was a great motivator. He has also read the McGuffy Primer. These books are great because each level increases in difficultly. Just yesterday my son read his whole math lesson by himself without help and for the first time in his young life he said enthusiastically, "I think I'm begininng to like reading!" I gave him a big hug and lots of praise. Currently he is reading, The Boys Book of Survival and when asked by his curious sisters if they could read it to him he said no. He is reading it himself. He will be nine this November and he is just now becoming a fluent reader. Although hard, it is worth the wait to see him develop his love of reading. Be encouraged. It will come!


  2. I know what you mean about it happening when the time is right for each child. And it so helps when they can read something on their level that they actually take interest in. One chapter book set that my boys loved is the A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy, because they loved the stories and it is a fairly easy reading level. I always skim thru books before my kids read them to see if they are morally appropriate, and I have to say I loved all of the A-Z Mysteries that we checked out from our library so much! They definitely got my boys wanting to read on their own more! If you haven't already checked some out, you might want to give it a try.

  3. Thanks for the tip, Glenda!! I saw those at the library but hadn't had the chance to pre-screen them for him. Good to know that they are decent books!


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